Ready, set, shop!

November 21, 2012
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Here’s a news flash for those of you who have been hiding under a rock for the past month: Black Friday is upon us. Let the conspicuous consumption begin.

But before you blow the holiday budget on Midnight Madness deals and Tryptophan Thursday specials, independent shop owners want to make sure you know about Small Business Saturday.

Scheduled for Nov. 24, the three-year-old event sponsored by American Express is a pep rally of sorts for small retailers at risk of getting overlooked in the holiday frenzy.

I talked to more than a half-dozen local store owners this week, and every one of them said the promotion has increased consumers’ awareness—and their sales. (Click here for my story on what they're doing to attract shoppers.)

That’s particularly important now, when business is brisk enough to help retailers turn a profit for the year.

Homespun: Modern Homemade owner Amanda Taflinger, for example, said she uses proceeds from the holiday season to pre-pay rent on her Irvington shop and save cash to survive slow summer months.

“This is a critical time of year for us,” she said.

Results of the annual Small Business Consumer Insights Survey released this month showed that 67 percent of consumers aware of the promotion planned to “shop small” on Saturday. That’s up from 44 percent last year, according to American Express and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Small retailers offer a different shopping experience than most big-box stores, and supporters say their success has more of an impact on the community.

Organizers of the national 3/50 Project say for every $100 spent in locally owned stores, $68 returns to the community—versus $43 for the same $100 sale in a chain.

The initiative, launched in 2009, aims to “save the brick and mortars our nation is built on” by encouraging consumers to spend a total of $50 each month at three independent businesses.

According to the number crunchers, if half of the employed population followed that advice, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.

What’s your take on the “shop local” movement?  Will you patronize a small retailer this holiday season?

 

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  • Pop-ups
    My best wishes to those entrepreneurs making a go of it during these still challenging economic conditions. I was especially heartened to see "pop-ups" in long vacant storefronts downtown, like the small store on College Ave at Mass Ave, just around the corner from the restaurant 45 Degrees.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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